Like everyone else I was excited by the prospect of an M version of the 1-series and, to be honest it is pretty much what I’d expect at this period in history. It was a wonderful opportunity to go back to basics.

Now the 2002 wasn’t cheap and neither was a 323i, but you had wind up windows, steel wheels and no radio whatsoever. Those were the days when everything was an extra.


Colin Chapman of course knew that less was more, which is why the Lotus 7 didn’t have doors or a proper roof. The original Golf GTI had nothing on it except some stripes and a comedy gearstick. Oddly it did put on a few kilos - up from 840kgs to 920kgs - when it became the Golf II. However, some trick aerodynamics did restore some sanity and speed to the package and it is still a flyweight compared to what passes for lightweight these days.

Less isn’t just good for sports cars it is essential for real world family cars if we are to eek a few more mpg out of them. Now I have had conversations with people in car companies and they have said that back to basics cars don’t sell. Well again lets go back to the old days when everything had to be paid for. It may be cheaper to stick a little motor where the wind up handle used to be, which is a shame.

The de-spec campaign starts now. As W124 who posts here says: ‘bring back steel wheels’. I second that notion.

So, in this age of automotive austerity, any more cutback suggestions to make our lives simpler, faster or more frugal, would be appreciated.